What is a good restaurant experience?

How it all started

In 2009 I went to Shanghai for an internship of 4 months. During this time I came across a lot of lounge bars and coffee shops in Tianzifang area.


This was the first time that I realized how awesome bars/coffee shops/restaurants can be. They have a relaxing vibe and comfy environment where you can chill with your friends. This was the start of my food dream (which is continuously changing):

Start my own coffee shop / Start my own food blog about coffee shops / Do something with food

In 2012 I went to South-Korea for an exchange at KAIST in Daejeon. Korean dramas convinced me to go to South-Korea to experience all the goodness there: cute stuff, fashion, technology (a lot of Samsung phones in dramas), the food and the coffee shops. It was food heaven there:

and also coffee shop heaven:

I could feast my eyes on all the ‘good things’ of coffee shops. Because WHAT MAKES A GOOD COFFEE SHOP OR RESTAURANT?
For my graduation project I did a lot of research on restaurants and their customers. Why do people like a certain restaurant? I created a diary questionnaire for some people and I put their answers in a mind-map.


So what is a good restaurant experience?

These days I still like to observe and experience restaurants, so I can learn from them. For someday when I would start my own food thing. Or to share this knowledge with upcoming restaurants and to help them become super awesome!

A visit to a recent ‘good’ restaurant inspired me to write this post. The restaurant is called Fish&Meat and they are a buffet. Before you sit down you already pay the price for all-you-can-eat-and-drink, including two alcohol coins.

They did it quite good on these points:

1. The food           7
Price is good for the quality food you get , a lot of food choices.


2. Service           8
Fast and friendly. They were uniform and professional clothing.

3. Branding          9
Well-designed website and business card, smart logo.

Source: http://fishandmeat.nl/

4. Interior and lightning      9
Modern and comfortable furniture. Nice lamps, enough coziness.


5. Use of space (big and spacey)

6. Toilet (new, clean)

7. Cleanness (good)

8. Music, sound, noise…(forgot whether they had music, but so spacey, you couldn’t eavesdrop other tables)

9. Cutlery (they change you plate and cutlery immediately when you are done)

10. Menu (no menu, because it was a buffet. The buffet is the menu…)

What if they DID have a menu? Does that take away the experience of exploring for your food? So a buffet can be seen as a food hunt. That is quite a nice experience for a restaurant. You can walk around together and find good stuff to eat, or scavenge on your own and bring back the goodies. You can use your eyes, nose and ears to see the food instead reading it in words or seeing photos. Hmm….

I thought Fish&Meat did it quite good on all points. To improve their sustainability I think they can let the customers reuse their plate and cutlery and not take it away so fast. It’s such a waste of water to wash that many plates.

My whole user experience point was: 8

Good food, so many choices. Comfy seats and environment. Clean.

Visit them!

Mon-Fri            12:00-22:00
Sat                    12:00-22:30
Sun, holidays  12:00-22:00
(info of 2 April 2016)

Address: Koningin Julianaplein 149-151
2595 AA Den Haag
+31(0) 70 737 12 67

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